In my previous post I considered the straight body line, and discussed Princess Diana as an archetypal straight body. This post complements it by describing the curved, or shaped, body-line. There is a half way house too – the semi shaped body, but it is easier to start with if we think about it as a dichotomy. Remember at this point we are not discussing how tall or short, heavy or slim a body is. We are trying to get to its essential shape – if it is made up more of obvious curves rather than straight lines. You need to identify the basic silhouette rather than look at how much you weigh (hopefully a relief in itself!)
The shaped body-line has the following characteristics; narrow or sloping shoulders, narrow, tapered ribcage, obvious waist, high round hips, and shaped calves.
Here is a great, shaped body. Standing at ease we can see her relatively short legs and “long-waist” ie the length between bust and hips. This is not a traditional “model girl” figure, but it is nevertheless a beautiful body. Marilyn looks her best in structured formal evening wear (generally not very comfortable clothes), clothes that flow round and flatter her curves. Ruching, pleating, gathering and draping work well with the shaped body-line.
When dressing this shape we need to emphasis the waist as straighter styles, especially if they end at the hips or thighs can make the wearer appear wider.
If you have a shaped or curvy body-line the best dresses would be
- 1940s styles in general, but a good example of a skirted evening dress
- 1970s style – any fit and flare dress that fits neatly above the waist with an A line or flare from below the bust or waist. This length looks good and can make your legs look longer.
- wrap dress – a great look on a shaped body. the top is fitted and the skirt is loose and comfortable. Best worn about knee-length or full length.
- fitted waist – any dress with a seam at the waist that allows strong waist definition and close-fitting. A little detail at the shoulders balances out the hips.
- fitted sheath dress This dress will emphasise curves but needs careful fitting. The tabs with buttons at the shoulder and neat sleeves add balancing width at the shoulder.This length, very popular in the early 1950s can be flattering especially if your legs are long and slim, but generally I would advise finishing at the knee to allow ease of walking.
Here is a picture of Marilyn in jeans and shirt. She looks lovely because she is so pretty, but truthfully this is not the best look on her, compared to her waisted dresses.